Author: Kate

HMCS Chicoutimi Safe

Thanks to a tip from John MacLeod, a Shotgun reader, this detailed report on the rescue of HMCS Chicoutimi. He points out;

There were four surface vessels, plus twelve (12) Royal Navy and UK Helicopters assigned,for the most part EH101 “Merlin” aircraft. The Canadian Forces, through no fault could not launch 12 helicopters for an operation in one specific area The EH101 “Merlin” was the aircraft chosen by the Mulroney Government in 1993.

(And cancelled by Chretien.)
The Canadian forces website reports Petty Officer 2nd� class Denis Lafleur, 41, and and Master Seaman Archibald MacMaster, 41, are in stable condition and continue to improve. There’s also a small photo gallery.
update – Toronto Star has a hair-raising article on the ordeal.

More From NYT Magazine

we get any of my water?” he asked Stephanie Cutter, his communications director, who dutifully scurried from the room. I asked Kerry, out of sheer curiosity, what he didn’t like about Evian.
“I hate that stuff,” Kerry explained to me. “They pack it full of minerals.”
“What kind of water do you drink?” I asked, trying to make conversation.
“Plain old American water,” he said.
“You mean tap water?”
“No … There are all kinds of waters,” he said finally. Pause. “Saratoga Spring. … Sometimes I drink tap water,” he added.

Nuance, Expanded

“I voted for the 87 Billion before I voted against it” is about to be officially retired. John Kerry has handed the Bush campaign something better. His “nuance” has morphed into “nuisance”.
From New York Times magazine:

“We have to get back to the place we were, where terrorists are not the focus of our lives, but they’re a nuisance,”

And if the choice of the word “nuisance” wasn’t bad enough –

“As a former law-enforcement person, I know we’re never going to end prostitution. We’re never going to end illegal gambling. But we’re going to reduce it, organized crime, to a level where it isn’t on the rise. It isn’t threatening people’s lives every day, and fundamentally, it’s something that you continue to fight, but it’s not threatening the fabric of your life.”

That’s right – finding out that your children are being held hostage in a school rigged with explosives is right up there with opening your telephone book and finding suggestive escort agency ads.
Volokh examines this bizarre analogy more thoroughly.
Wretchard sums it up.

Bai’s article reminds me of one of those products which are described on the packaging as being a new space age, high-technology, portable illumination aid which on closer inspection turns out to be a flashlight. When the newfangled description of terrorism as a “blended threat” is subtracted, the entire program consists of the policies of the late 1990s. Bilateral talks with North Korea. Oslo. G-8. The United Nations. Warrants of arrest. Extradition requests. Not a single new element in the entire package, except the fancy rationale. There is nothing wrong with that, any more than there is anything objectionable about a flashlight, but a more candid characterization of Kerry’s proposals is not a voyage into uncharted waters so much as return to the world of September 10; in Kerry’s words “back to the place we were”. It has the virtue of producing known results, and suffers only from the defect that those results do not include being able to prevent massive attacks on the American mainland.

Playing Chicken With The Wrong Opposition

Martin takes the measure of a minority

Crises are always revealing. Last week’s brush with the brink and flirtation with defeat for the government displayed the strengths and weaknesses of the party leaders, and provided some fascinating insights into how they operate.
Martin, as he did at the health-care talks with the premiers, started with an opening position that conceded very little to the opposition parties’ agendas, apparently assuming that they were bluffing. When it became clear that they weren’t, there was a frantic burst of energy and improvisation: late- night emergency strategy meetings of senior cabinet ministers, phone calls to premiers to mobilize them against the opposition, and a final minutes-from-the-edge negotiation.
When a deal was struck, Martin’s strategists were beaming with self-congratulation, as they did after the election and the health-care meeting. The Martin Method had worked again. Sort of.
But the near-miss occurred because the Liberals had under-consulted and under-estimated the opposition, blithely assuming that they would not dare force a confrontation so early. Wrong.
Stephen Harper emerged stronger, playing his cards well. He built a strong relationship with Bloc Leader Gilles Duceppe, and helped push for a key concession, telling Martin that he didn’t want his government to fall over the phraseology of a sub-amendment.
Duceppe was also strengthened by the last-minute deal that averted the government’s defeat. ) He had shrewdly set the bar very low, seeking changes to the Speech from the Throne based on what Quebec Premier Jean Charest wants, not a sovereignty agenda, and on priorities he stated in June. He proved to Harper that he could be trusted; his years of experience as a union negotiator showed.
But the NDP’s Jack Layton lost ground and lost face. He appeared desperate to keep the Liberals in power, at almost any price. He showed his fellow-opposition leaders that he can’t be relied on in a common front to extract concessions from the government, even when he has written the concessions himself. He dealt himself out of the play, revealed his weakness, and is now taken less seriously by all three of his fellow party leaders.

Measuring Success

With the voting over in the first presidential election in the history of Afghanistan, the media is virtually unanimous in declaring failure. Google News search results tell the story.

Results 1 – 10 of about 720 for afghan election fraud.

Jeff Jarvis is confused and dismayed at the negativity. One can only conclude he’s been hiding under a rock for the past three years.
So I tried a few others….

Your search – “Afghan voters killed in blast” – did not match any documents.
Your search – Afghan “polling station blast” – did not match any documents.
Your search – Afghan “polling station violence” – did not match any documents.

Reuters couldn’t even dig one up, though they did record a possible interception.

Results 1 – 1 of about 1 for afghan voters-killed. (0.10 seconds)

Afghans turned out in “massive” numbers for the nation’s first direct presidential election, a United Nations spokesman said.
“We don’t have numbers have yet, but there was a massive amount of voters and a great deal of enthusiasm,” Manoel de Almeida e Silva said by telephone from Kabul, the Afghan capital. A preliminary count may be ready within two days, and a total count may take up to three weeks, he said.
There were no reports of voters killed or injured, U.S. Maj. Scott Nelson, spokesman for the Combined Forces Command, said by telephone from Kabul. There was a report of an ambush in Uruzgan province by suspected Taliban militants that left three police officers dead, he said.

I call that a success. And so would the New York Times, WaPo, the LA Tmes and every other major media outlet in North America had it happened with a Democrat in the White House. Get with the program, Jeff!

Cranky Canadian Press

Globe And Mail, Alan Freeman: “Once again last night, U.S. President George W. Bush grimaced and looked irritated when he faced tough questions about the war in Iraq and the record of his four years in office.
Winnipeg Sun, Charles Adler “It gives some of us the impression that last night was the president’s eleventh hour. And his time may be up.”
Toronto Star, Tim Harper ” He was seen winking at somebody in the audience twice, raising his eyebrows in mock exasperation another time and tapping his left foot on the ground as he sat on his stool, a mannerism which has betrayed impatience in the U.S. president in the past.”
The European rags are ceding the debate to Bush. The downright cranky nature of Canadian coverage this morning means they are, too.

Can Charlie Sit Down This Morning?

Sorry about that big cowboy bootprint on your ass, Charlie…

GIBSON: Mr. President, let’s extend for a minute…
BUSH: Let me just – I’ve got to answer this.
GIBSON: Exactly. And with Reservists being held on duty…
BUSH: Let me answer what he just said, about around the world.
GIBSON: Well, I want to get into the issue of the back-door draft…
BUSH: You tell Tony Blair we’re going alone. Tell Tony Blair we’re going alone. Tell Silvio Berlusconi we’re going alone. Tell Aleksander Kwasniewski of Poland we’re going alone. There are 30 countries there. It denigrates an alliance to say we’re going alone, to discount their sacrifices. You cannot lead an alliance if you say, you know, you’re going alone. And people listen. They’re sacrificing with us.
GIBSON: Senator?

This was the first debate I watched – the other two I listened to on radio. The person I watched with is probably poltiically somewhat to the left of myself – (yes, I know, not a difficult achievement) and it was pretty clear that he thought Bush had won.
James Joyner liveblogged.
As a Canadian, the response Bush gave on lowering health care costs by relying on Canadian imported drugs was badly explained – though the “safety” response might play well with a US audience, it sounded flat out goofy from this side of the border. The real problem with importing Canadian drugs is that our prices are contained legislatively. US drug companies tolerate the situation because our share of the market is relatively small. The idea that they would agree to having the bulk of their US profits slashed by an export-import run through Canada is naive. They can stop exporting any time they like.
And was James Varner a Rove operative or just a guy with a mean streak a mile wide?

“Senator Kerry, would you be willing to look directly into the camera and, using simple and unequivocal language, give the American people your solemn pledge …”

“All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my closeup.”

“What I Really Said About Iraq”

Paul Bremer has an op-ed in the New York Times today. I believe registration is required, so I”m going to quote generously.

In recent days, attention has been focused on some remarks I’ve made about Iraq. The coverage of these remarks has elicited far more heat than light, so I believe it’s important to put my remarks in the correct context.
In my speeches, I have said that the United States paid a price for not stopping the looting in Iraq in the immediate aftermath of major combat operations and that we did not have enough troops on the ground to accomplish that task. The press and critics of the war have seized on these remarks in an effort to undermine President Bush’s Iraq policy.
The press has been curiously reluctant to report my constant public support for the president’s strategy in Iraq and his policies to fight terrorism. I have been involved in the war on terrorism for two decades, and in my view no world leader has better understood the stakes in this global war than President Bush.
The president was right when he concluded that Saddam Hussein was a menace who needed to be removed from power. He understands that our enemies are not confined to Al Qaeda, and certainly not just to Osama bin Laden, who is probably trapped in his hide-out in Afghanistan. As the bipartisan 9/11 commission reported, there were contacts between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein’s regime going back a decade. We will win the war against global terror only by staying on the offensive and confronting terrorists and state sponsors of terror – wherever they are. Right now, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Qaeda ally, is a dangerous threat. He is in Iraq.
President Bush has said that Iraq is the central front in the war on terror. He is right. Mr. Zarqawi’s stated goal is to kill Americans, set off a sectarian war in Iraq and defeat democracy there. He is our enemy.
Mr. Kerry is free to quote my comments about Iraq. But for the sake of honesty he should also point out that I have repeatedly said, including in all my speeches in recent weeks, that President Bush made a correct and courageous decision to liberate Iraq from Saddam Hussein’s brutality, and that the president is correct to see the war in Iraq as a central front in the war on terrorism.
A year and a half ago, President Bush asked me to come to the Oval Office to discuss my going to Iraq to head the coalition authority. He asked me bluntly, “Why would you want to leave private life and take on such a difficult, dangerous and probably thankless job?” Without hesitation, I answered, “Because I believe in your vision for Iraq and would be honored to help you make it a reality.” Today America and the coalition are making steady progress toward that vision.

Don’t expect any of it to be quoted on the nightly news.
(Via Powerline and crossposted to the Shotgun)

Technical Issues?

I’m having problems getting my site to load properly in Opera today (the sidebar, blogroll, etc won’t load at all), and am trying to figure out if the issue is local, or if it’s a broader problem with MT. It seems fine in Mozilla. I run Linux, so I have no access to Explorer. If anyone else is encountering problems, post a comment or send me an email at kate@the.

Zero Tier Health Care, Updated

Looks like someone took up my suggestion;

Southwest trying to hold on to health care
CLIMAX – People in the southwest corner of the province say they will pay for health care alone if they have to.
They are upset that hours of service at the Border Health Centre in Climax are going to be cut next month.
Nancy Kirk, mayor of Climax, says her area is home to oil and gas workers, as well as a large manufacturing plant. Kirk says accidents happen, and people need an emergency room around the clock.
“We’re not really asking for a lot. We know we’re a health centre. We know we don’t probably need a full-fledged acute care facility here. We need some solutions as they have done in other parts of the province where people are isolated. We need some the solution to have some of our emergency needs met beyond the eight-hour day.”
Kirk says a number of people in her area are willing to spend local tax dollars on extending the health centre’s hours. Kirk estimates keeping open the emergency room would cost up to $300,000 dollars a year.

Good for them.
If First Nations are going to be permitted to establish private, for profit MRI services in the city of Saskatoon, with three major hospitals in a 10 mile radius, any argument to deny rural residents the right to find their own solutions in a “remote” region without a hospital or emergency care at all is going to require a intellectual contortionist.
That person, of course, would be Premier Lorne Calvert.

Canadian Brain Drain Continues


A foreign mercenary who apparently came from Canada has been killed while fighting Russian forces in Chechnya, the headquarters of the counter-terrorist operation in the North Caucasus told the RIA-Novosti news agency on Friday.
“The documents found on the killed African-American testify to the fact that he had arrived from Canada,” the agency’s source said. The source noted, however, that the authenticity of these documents was yet to be verified.
“At present we are translating and checking the numerous visas in his passport. The expertise to check their authenticity will be held in the nearest future,” the HQ source said.
Official spokesman of the North Caucasus HQ, Colonel Ilya Shabalkin, said that the killed African-American was an expert in explosives and that he had arrived in Chechnya to replace Algerian fighter Abu Muskhab who was recently taken prisoner by Russian troops. (Kamal Burrakhlia, AKA Abu Muskhab was detained by Russia’s FSB in Chechnya on September 17, 2004. Before arriving in Chechnya in 2001, the mercenary had lived in Great Britain for almost 10 years.)
“The mercenary and three Chechen gunmen who accompanied him were killed on Thursday near the village of Niki-Khita in the Kurchaloi District of Chechnya,” Shabalkin said. The gunmen belonged to a group headed by the warlord Avdorkhanov who is under the immediate command of Aslan Maskhadov, he added.
A grenade launcher, a machine gun and two assault rifles were found on the killed fighters, the spokesman said.


Oh, Theresa – nicely done.

Writing for the National Post, J. Kelly Nestruck, — that’s “J.” Kelly, not just “Kelly” — has written an article about bloggers and the blogosphere. JKelly’s article is entitled “Why the revolution won’t be blogged” and subtitled “Bloggers talk about their importance, but it’s just talk.”
JKelly’s own blog, On the Fence can be found here. Read it, especially if you just can’t get enough of reporters talking about what events they’re covering and putting down their colleagues. Maybe that doesn’t matter, though, given that he acknowledges his readers don’t all read the National Post. Tsk. Tsk. After reading his blog, I, myself, doubt that he’s doing much to improve NP readership, either, especially given that he seems to double-dip — writing about a topic on his blog and then spinning that yarn into a news article later. Yawn.

In response to the reaction his piece generated (as well as a reply in the Heart of Canada link above), he does attempt to clarify his thoughts with these obvious points, and frankly, I’d be surprised if the majority of media critic – news junkie bloggers would disagree with them.

But, yes, as someone writes in the comment to the post below, I guess I am arguing against a position that is not widely held. How many bloggers actually believe that it’s “new media vs. old media”? Most smart ones recognize the symbiotic relationship between the two.

The question is, why does he think it had to be said at all, if he’s as familiar with the blogosphere as he purports to be?

Some, unaware that I was involved in bloggage before I started at the Post, have seen the article as another mainstream journalist scared for his job thing. (If I am, trust me, it’s not because of bloggers.) I guess what I wanted to say, and only really did at the end of the article, is that blogs aren’t hurting the “old media,” but actually helping it become better. The New York Times, for instance, has improved since Jayson Blair. Maybe Dan Rather will survive Memogate, maybe he won’t; CBS News, however, will work really hard to restore its reputation.

Nobody that I’m aware of is seriously setting out to replace old media – it’s not a primal “us vs them” showdown. Most are happy enough to simply snap at their heels, and in the final analysis – improvement in the quality of reporting is the goal. Sifting through information on current events is a lot of work – I’d rather someone else did it for me. It’s what they’re paid to do, after all. I didn’t rip into David Kirton today because I seek to steal his audience – I ripped into him because I’m tired of being treated like an absolute idiot who needs to be told what to think about the news, as though I will swallow it whole without tasting (and without Google).
I’m tired of searching for transcripts to verify that the quotes extracted aren’t misrepresented. I’m tired of double standards and having actual coverage of events interrupted by some self-important jerk with a microphone who interprets it for me, through the lens of an opponant’s view.
So, J. Kelly – it’s not hard to keep people like me off your back – just strive to represent the facts as they become known, and present them in their honest context. Do bona-fide followup and correct with the enthusiasm with which you reveal.
And, stop playing the gotcha game. You probably aren’t Bob Woodward and it’s probably not Watergate. Identify opinion for what it is, and whose it is. Don’t try to recreate history or subject it to an arbitrary 48 month cut off.
I’m not your competitor – I’m the consumer. I ask simply as that you remember your role and respect mine – you report, I decide – it’s not just a cute slogan.

So, yeah, don’t for a minute think that things have changed all that much over the past nine months. Blogs are fun, blogs are great, I love blogs. But there are people out there saying that blogs are to the 2004 presidential race what television was to the 1960 campaign. (Sidenote: I’ve never really bought into that whole “TV won the election for JFK” myth, personally.) The fact is that blogs are still only visited by a small segment of the voting public. Stories like Rathergate would have never hit if it wasn’t for the back- up of the old media.

And there you go again. Rathergate would have never hit if it wasn’t for the back-up of Drudge.
Stories like Rathergate would never have broken in the first place if it were up to the old media. Old media (the NYT and Boston Globe, for example) tried very hard to ignore, then refute it.
Perhaps he’s right and bloggers have really hit their peak as an influence over public opinion. Perhaps it’s true that the best that the blogosphere can aspire to is an esoteric, exotic niche, and that it will never come within a sniff of the audience share enjoyed by old media (though there are plenty of bloggers who have higher daily readership than some mid-sized city newspapers who put the lie to that).
TZ has words of encouragement, too.

Anyhow, Kellygreen can just stop whining. The internet will never replace print journalism. After all, you can’t line a birdcage with computer monitors.

On the other hand, as I write this, there’s an old quote that persists in tapping me on the shoulder;

“Adding sound to movies would be like putting lipstick on the Venus de Milo.” – Mary PIckford